Herem
Interview

6 questions to Valendis Suomalainen from Herem

Valendis from Finland is a versatile woman, she does the growls for Herem, a heavy doom sludge band and for Dead Samaritan which is more in the thrash death style. And besides all that she's also currently working on a doom(ish) project.

Valendis from Finland is a versatile woman, she does the growls for Herem, a heavy doom sludge band and for Dead Samaritan which is more in the thrash death style. And besides all that she’s also currently working on a doom(ish) project.

Herem is on some kind of hiatus at this moment cause after 10 years the members felt the need to focus on other musical projects a little more. Valendis recorded with Herem two demos in 2006, one year after the band formed. In 2008 the first full-length appeared followed by the second one in 2011 and the latest album comes from 2016.

So Valendis spent more time on Dead Samaritan now and with this band, she recorded a demo in 2010, the band already released a demo in 2004 without Valendis, the debut full-length in 2012 and the second full-length in 2014. Currently, the band is working on new tunes but nothing is in stone yet.

When did you start with singing and why did you want to sing?
I’ve always liked to sing, although it was ”normal” clean singing first. I never thought I’d be the vocalist in a band, though – actually I had a dream of becoming a bassist. But at the age of 14 or so, I got inspired by some bands I liked, mainly Amorphis and early Entombed, and decided to try to learn to growl. I had never heard of any female growlers at that point (although there were a few, just not widely known), so I never had any female inspiration. At first, it was just for fun – I mean, I was a short, skinny girl in her teens, how on earth was I supposed to be able to produce such deep growls? Well, I did learn and then decided that this was definitely what I wanted to do.

Who influenced you the most at the beginning of your career and who are your current favorites?
My greatest inspiration for learning to growl was Finnish metal band Amorphis, especially their album ”Tales from the thousand lakes”. During the years my other sources of influence and inspirations have been bands like The Crown, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride… It’s pretty hard no name my current favorites, as there are so many! I tend to listen to music from many different genres, so I am not only influenced by rock/metal music.

What other types of music would you like to sing?
Old school jazz/blues. Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and so on.

What is the highlight of your career?
For me, each gig and each album is a highlight in itself. I’m not after any big success, I just love what I do.

What was the funniest moment in your career?
Years ago, when it was still fairly rare to find ladies in metal bands, we had a gig with Herem. After sound check, we went elsewhere to grab a bite, and as we were returning to the venue there was a bouncer at the door. When told we were playing that night he let the guys and also my back then-boyfriend, who was just with us to see the gig, in without asking anything, but stopped me. ”You have to pay for the ticket”, he said, and I had to convince him that, yes, I was in the band, too. I remember being quite annoyed at the time, but nowadays I just find it hilarious.

Tips for people who want to start singing like you do?
Just do it. No, really, I’m no teacher. No one ever told me how to do it, so I just experimented and learned by myself. There have been times when someone has asked me for advice and they have all these weird specific names for different growling techniques so I hardly even understand what they’re asking. I honestly feel like such a fossil sometimes! If you find a good teacher, though, who knows this style, then go for it – you’ll learn how not to use too much force and thus exhaust your voice. You have to find your unique style yourself, though, so when you know the basics just go on and experiment.

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